Teen may have been groomed and lured into sex trafficking

Police said a missing Arkansas teen may have been groomed and lured into sex trafficking.

RELATED: Arkansas teen in danger after leaving home, search underway

Arissa Farmer is 16 years old and was last seen on surveillance video at a Blytheville gas station.

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Police believe she is in real danger because she was spotted with an unknown man who was able to convince her to run away.

When detectives went through her computer, they found messages that revealed she was being groomed.

The 16-year-old snuck out of her house Saturday morning.

When she was last seen at a Blytheville gas station Sunday morning, witnesses said she appeared drugged and/or intoxicated.

Many times, child victims of trafficking are groomed over the internet.

“[Suspects] use different means, social media can be one of the means. They reach out to individuals sometimes portraying to be a like aged individual,” said Micheal Jones with the TBI.

“A complete stranger can act like they know us based on what we have posted, sometimes in the past few days,” said Rachel Sumner Haaga, with Restore Corps.

The predators often operate in silence, but advocates and experts said there are signs parents should look out for.

“They become very aware and scared of authority figures,” said Micheal Jones with the TBI.

“They've become obsessed with one particular friendship or one particular relationship that is kind of out of the blue. If you don't know this person, why are they so bonded to them?,” said Haaga.

“Changes in physical appearance, dressing in a provocative manner, despite the weather conditions outside,” said Jones.

In Arissa's case, she snuck out on her own, but now her family is praying and pleading she is able to return home safe.
Ways to identify if an abuser is grooming your child: https://educateempowerkids.org/8-ways-predator-might-groom-child/